The Importance of Index Blending

by Alexander V
Summary:

The article was about “Index Blending” and its contribution to discipline specific research. “Index Blending is the process of database development whereby various components are merged and refined to create a single encompassing source of information. ” Index Blending combines the specific indices of other databases and other important components in order to create a single index for a particular area of study. One could say it is a “frankenstein” database where all the best resources for research are combined into one index. The process of Index Blending is very long and detail oriented. The first and most important step of the process is to determine what the problem/need is. In this instance, an area of study does not have sufficient resources and requires a more comprehensive index. The need for a more comprehensive resource is usually determined through: conducting surveys, discussions with users, and looking currently available resources. Through this process vendors determine what resources to add, remove, focus on, and or expand upon. Examples of Index Blending used by the author are EBSCO’s development of the databases Communication & Mass Media Complete and Hospitality & Tourism Index .

Reflection:

The article is related to the topic of the week in that it gives thorough explanations and examples of the database development process. I thought it article was very informative in laying out the strenuous process of Index Blending and database creation in general. Before reading the article, I would have thought  this seemed like an easy idea to execute. Take the most important things from different resources and put them all into one place. After reading, I realized that that was an overly simplified way to look at Index Blending. I believe that it is with EBSCO leading the way that Cal Poly Pomona has an abundance of resources that can be searched through the library database. EBSCO is even listed as one of the search engines for scholarly journals/articles.

Even though the article gave a pretty in depth explanation of the whole process of Index Blending, I would have preferred if the author had given a more detailed explanation in the resource selection process. I understand that vendors consult with many potential users ranging from experts in the field to students. What I want to know is how they determine if a resource should be included if  the users that they consult are 50/50 on the inclusion of that resource. In addition to that, if the vendors could not acquire a current database that would vastly improve their index, what would they do? I would speculate that they would just exclude it but the index they are creating would be missing a crucial resource.

Source:

Brooks, S., & Herrick, M. (2007). Index blending: Enabling the development of definitive, discipline-specific resources. Information Technology and Libraries, 26(2), 27-27-34. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215828311?accountid=10357